Overnights: Rising Waters

Register Rising Waters Safari Camp is an African-themed overnight Zoo adventure. Campers at Rising Waters stay in the Zoo's African Savanna for an authentic safari experience. The program combines elements of African culture, such as the making of tribal masks and a story circle, with conservation-oriented activities and a visit with some of the Zoo's smaller African animals. Night hikes, snacks, and fun (and free Zoo admission following the program!) make Rising Waters a memorable experience for kids of all ages.


All Overnight Program includes:

  • Program curriculum and equipment
  • Counselors that will stay with your group through the entire program
  • Sleep in the Rising Waters tent area
  • Light evening snack
  • Secure sleeping location
  • Light breakfast
  • Admission to the Zoo and The RainForest immediately following the program
  • Children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult

For parents looking for more details or group leaders looking for key points to share with their group please use this Parents' Guide.


  • Cost of overnights is $41 per person
  • Maximum group size is 48 people for Rising Waters. Each of the six tents can sleep a maximum of 8 people (4 people sleeping on the bottom of the bunk bed and 4 people sleeping on the top bunk bed). Please keep in mind that if your group is not divisible by 8, there is a possibility that you may need to share sleeping accommodations with another group.
  • Although there is no minimum size for your group, there must be 15 total people registered for a program to run. Low enrollment will cause the night not to run.
  • Children must be at least 6 years old.
  • We require at least 1 adult for every 10 children registered. For every 10 paid children one adult is admitted free. (Discount for free adult is not applied in online shopping cart but will be applied before final payment).
  • A non-refundable deposit must be paid upon registration. This deposit amount is based upon number of campers in your group and is applied to your final payment.
  • Full payment and completed roster sheet are due one week prior to the overnight.
  • Participants who do not attend their scheduled overnight (no show) may not receive a refund nor may they transfer to another date. 
  • Original waivers must be brought with you the night of your program


Click the "Register" button at the top of the page to view exact times and dates.


Program is $41 per person.


When is Rising Waters Safari Camp Available?
Rising Waters is available mid-June through mid-August, Thursday evening to Friday morning, Friday evening to Saturday morning, Saturday evening to Sunday morning, and Sunday evening to Monday morning. Rising Waters can be scheduled late April through mid-June and mid-August to mid-September, on either a Friday night to Saturday morning, or Saturday night to Sunday morning. We do reserve the right to black out certain dates to accommodate large Zoo events.

Where do we sleep for Rising Waters?
The Sleeping area for Rising Waters is the Rising Waters Safari Camp in tents that sleep 8 people (4 bunk beds per tent). Please keep in mind that if your group is not divisible by 8, there is a possibility of sharing sleeping accommodations with another registered group. We will try our best to match groups with similar genders.

What time do the overnight programs run?
Overnights begin promptly at 7 p.m. and end the following morning at 10 a.m. Due to safety and security reasons we cannot accommodate any participant needing to arrive or leave between the hours of 7:30 p.m. and 7:30 a.m.

What do I bring with me?
Sleeping bags and pillows are necessary.  Camping mats are provided. Please be sure to pack appropriate clothing for the predicted weather (sleepwear, change of clothes, towel, wash cloth, toiletries, outdoor garments, and comfortable shoes). The program runs rain or shine.  You must also bring the original signed waiver/emergency treatment release forms for each and every member of your group.

When is my roster of attendees due?
Your roster of attendees including your group's name, child or adult notation, and any medical or dietary needs must be submitted no later than eight (8) days prior to your scheduled program along with your final payment in-full.

Do I need to have a waiver/emergency treatment release form?
Waiver/emergency treatment release forms must be filled out and signed on both sides. ALL participants, children and adults, are required to have his/her own form. No one will be permitted to attend an overnight program without a completed waiver/emergency form on file. Original signed forms must be brought with you to your overnight date. 

Why do I need to submit the waiver/emergency treatment release form.
We need to see that all the are completed and signed as directed by Cleveland Metroparks Legal Department. We need to know of any special dietary/medical accommodations or medical equipment usage.

Can the group visit the Zoo after their program?
Participants are welcome to stay in The RainForest and/or Zoo immediately following their program. Each participant will be given a wristband that is valid for that day only if they are remaining in the Zoo.

If we are staying in the Zoo after the program, what do we do with our gear? 
One of the first morning activities is to gather your gear and load it into one of the Zoo vans to be transported to the parking lot, where you will load it into your vehicles. If you will not have vehicles available first thing in the morning, please call the registration office at 216-635-3391.

Where do I park/go to begin the program?
Parking is in the Zoo's Lion lot, which is across the road from the Zoo entrance. To begin the program, a member of our staff will meet you in the Lion lot to gather your gear and take you to the entrance. 

What happens if my program is cancelled due to low enrollment?
You will be notified 2-3 weeks ahead of time if your program is in danger of not running and we will work with you to select an alternative date for your overnight experience.

Do you still run the program if the weather is bad?
Our programs run in all weather conditions. We will make adjustments to the program depending on the weather to make sure that everyone is safe. In cases of severe weather emergencies (as determined by local authorities), the group leader will be contacted within 24 hours of the program start.

Do you supply food with this program?
We offer a light evening snack, and a continental style breakfast. We ask that participants eat dinner before coming to the program.

Can I bring my own food?
You may only bring in food for medical or special dietary reasons.

Can I bring a birthday cake?
We do allow birthday cakes. Since you might be doing the program with others, we ask that you bring enough for all participants of the program.

Where do I pick up my child after the program is completed?
You can pick up your child at the main Zoo entrance after the program is completed at 10:00 a.m. The finish location of the program may not be near the main gate, so please allow time for your child to accompany his/her group leader to the main gate for pick-up as close to 10:00 a.m. as possible. If you wish to visit the Zoo with your child you may purchase admission at the box office.